In light of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of employees have transitioned into work-from-home roles. Although the lifestyle isn’t for everyone, many enjoy it. As such, some are wondering if it’s possible to continue working from home even after physical offices reopen.
Those on Twitter’s payroll found out on Tuesday that the answer is yes. The social media giant announced that any employees who are capable of working from home will be able to do so “forever” if they choose to despite a planned reopening of its offices in the coming months. It’s an interesting decision that could have implications for both the wider tech space and the workplace as a whole.
Tech companies are known for taking innovative approaches to solve problems. Likewise, they are often far more flexible with employee roles and routines than businesses in other sectors. After all, not many employees enjoy things like game rooms, free gourmet meals, and recreational activities at their place of work.
Yet, the tech industry has shown that a flexible approach can indeed work—and work well. It isn’t incredibly surprising to hear that Twitter is giving its employees the opportunity to work from home long-term if they want to.
CEO Jack Dorsey informed employees via a company email. A spokesperson then told The Verge, “If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”
Twitter employees have been working from home since March 12 when the company officially shut down its offices. Thus far, it hasn’t experienced any major setbacks as a result of the remote work policy.
In terms of an eventual return, Twitter has outlined a portion of its plan for restarting its physical operations. It says that the majority of its offices won’t open before September. Even then, the social media company notes that it plans to open each of its locations systematically and gradually.
On top of this, Twitter notes that it won’t hold any in-person company events for the remainder of 2020.
Twitter’s decision is noteworthy not just for it as a company, but for the tech industry as a whole. While remote work can’t fully replicate a face-to-face environment, it’s a strategy that is extremely viable for many tech companies.
As such, the likes of Google, Facebook, and countless other startups could follow suit. That opens the door to questions like whether physical workplaces are now a thing of the past and what it actually means to work for a company.
There will always be people working together in person. However, the pandemic has shown that working remotely is also a good option. Moving forward, it wouldn’t be surprising for many tech employees to choose the work-from-home life if given the opportunity. It will certainly be interesting to see how many Twitter employees take Dorsey up on the offer.